Stockholm: Scandi perfection (day 2)

Hello everyone and thanks for checking back in with me. It’s been a while since I wrote about my Nordic adventure and today we continue in Stockholm, Sweden. Most of this post is dedicated to delicious foods we consumed and shopping our way through Gamla Stan,
Norrmalm and Östermalm. However, we did spend a good portion of the day visiting the Royal Palace and the Swedish History Museum, but I will write a separate post to share with you some of the marvels we found.


Södermalm: Breakfast

Its always great to start you day with a big healthy breakfast, especially if your up early. I found the perfect cafe in Södermalm that offers a wholesome breakfast and some great coffee. Pom & Flora is trendy little cafe, which offers wholesome breakfast bowls, fancy toast, fresh baked breads ith eggs and more, gluten free breads and a selection of coffees, juices and smoothies. They have two locations, so if your not in
Södermalm, you can also visit their other location in Vasastan.

For Octavia and I, we ordered the Seasonal fruit with whipped coconut cream and Steel cut oats cooked with oat milk and cardamom, stewed rubhard, nuts and cottage cheese. Marco had the Grilled Croissant with cheese & ham. We also ordered some cappuccino with oats milk. Everything was really fresh and delicious and the service was relatively quick.


Gamla Stan: sites and lunch

Next we headed to the Gamla Stan, which is the old town of Stockholm and one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe. Here you can find the Royal Palace, some of the best restaurants and cafes, museums and little bouquets between the narrow streets.

First we headed to the Royal Palace (Kungliga slotten), which is one of the largest palaces in Europe and is still the offical residence of the King of Sweden. It contains five splendid museums that you could easily spend all day exploring. Since I took so many photos I will write a special post just for the palace and the museums that we visited. The photots below are just of the Palace exterior, views from within and the Parade Square (Outer Courtyard). It was here that we caught the end of the changing of the guards.


Afterwards we wondered through the streets of Gamla Stan and did some window shopping before stopping for lunch. I just loved the hussle and bussle of the streets. The main streets are Västerlånggatan and Österlånggatan. Perhaps one of the most famous symbols of the city is the building in Stortorget, a small public square. Some other interesting stops are the momument to St George and the Dragon and the extremely narrow Prästgatan (The Priest Street). Unfortunately I got to this narrow street just as a whole lot of tourist arrived to gawk and walk down it. We decided we were too hungry to go down that rabbit hole.


There are so many amazing place to lunch in Gamla Stan. I was considering Resturang Tradition, which offers high quality classic Swedish food and some of the best meatballs in the city (also lactose free!). However, since we were on a budget we went for another exciting but less expensive option. Strömmingsvagnen is a food truck offering traditional Swedish fried herring. This sounded delicious to me, but Marco wasn’t convinced until he tried it. Octavia and I shared the Nystekt Strömming med Hemlegat Potatismos (Fried herring with mash potatoes) with the choice of pickled cucumber, creme fraiche salad and lingonberry. Marco went for the safest option, the Herring Burger. It was all so delicious! The herring wasn’t greasy at all and tasted fresh, without the fishy flavour. The mash potato was creamy to perfection and the salads and jam fresh. The burger was also amazing, as the fillings really brought the best out of the herring. For a cheap lunch, I can’t recommend it enough, even if your not a fish lover. Afterwards Marco and Octavia got some Icecream from the Hell Dog Food Truck and which they both highly recommend.


Norrmalm to Östermalm

After lunch we had to go back through Gamla Stan to make our way to the Swedish Historical Museum to see the Viking exhibition. So we walked from the south west of Gamla Stan across the bridge into Norrmalm and along the Lilla Värtan river towards the museum. It was a long walk on a really hot day. You may be wondering why we didn’t take public transport. Well, the day before we did get a day pass and we barely used. So today we decided to walk, which we did. It only took about 30 minutes, but it felt longer because of the heat. It was still nice to walk along the Nybroviken, which is a small bay, which separates Norrmalm and Östermalm.
Östermalm is a beautiful beautiful and afflutent part of Stockhom, where you can find plenty of shopping, beauitiful architecture and museums.

After visiting the museum, Marco and Octavia went back to the apartment to have a rest before dinner. I didn’t want to sit around the appartment, so instead I went shopping. I walked back from Östermalm to Norrmalm. I window shopped my way from Nybrogatan to Birger Jarlsgatan to Biblioteksgatan. I even found an Eataly, which I didn’t know about in Stockholm. The one and only Eataly that I’ve been to was in New York, which I loved. If I had more time I would have loved to come back to dine there.

It was so hot out and I was getting really thirsty, so I stopped into Joe and the Juice. This is a Danish juice bar, that has since spread across Europe, America, Asia and Australia. This is my first time visiting one of their bars, but I do remember trying to find one in Sentosa, Singapore. They offer fresh juices, smoothies, coffee, as well as plenty of savoury and sweet options for lunch or afternoon tea. I ordered the Prince of Green fresh juice, which was sweet, earthy and very refreshing. I would have got something else, but I had to have dinner soon. Not long after this I had to make the dreaded walk back through Gamla Stan to meet my family back at the apartment for dinner.


Södermalm: Dinner

For dinner I already had a place in mind, which was near the apartment in Södermalm. Krogen Soldaten Svejk is an Eastern European Restaurant which offers hearty dishes at an affordable price. They have good reviews and we saw plenty of customers on arrival, which is aways a good sign.

I ordered Vepřová du chef Jurajda (roasted loin of pork with sauerkraut and dumplings). Marco ordered the Schnitzel Feldkurat Katz filled with ham and cheese, with fried potatoes. For Octavia we orderer the Cheese and Sausage Plate. The food was exactly what we were hoping for, it was well cooked, hearty and so delicious. The only disappointment was the Cheese and Sausage plate, since we didn’t know that it would be processed cold meat. However, we probably should of asked a few more questions. It was still good, but nice exactly a kids meal. Octavia didn’t mind tucking in to our dishes anyway and we had an extra side dish.

To finish the night off we head to a local grocery store and bought some Swedish Icecreams. Their grocery stores full of interesting foods and plenty of dairy free and other healthy alternatives. You can probably guess which ones was mine.


Since this post has mainly been able food I will share with you some of the other places I would have loved to have tried. Unforunately this was our last full day in Stockholm, so I wasn’t able to try them this time.

Stockholm: Scandi perfection (day 1)

Our next stop on our Nordic Adventure was Stockholm, Sweden. We have been to Sweden a couple of times, but this was our first time visiting the capital city. Stockholm is the most populous city of the Nordic countries and the centre for cultural and economic centre of Sweden. We allocated two and a half days for Stockholm and if we had more time we would have loved to stay longer. The food, the shopping, the architecture and the sites, make it an amazing destination that you don’t want to leave.

Our first day in Stockholm was relatively lay back by my  travelling standards. We experiences amazing Swedish pastries, had family fun at Skansen open air museum, did fika with our cousin, window shopped in the old town and finished the evening with a plate of Swedish meatballs.

 

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Roundup of Euro Trip 2017

My Euro trip of 2017 series has finally come to an end. I hope you enjoyed reading about my travels and looking through my photos. I hope I have inspired you to visit some of these amazing places or just experience another culture from your own hometown.

This is a round-up of all the countries and cities we visited on our Euro trip in 2017. They include France, Italy, Switzerland, Serbia, Sweden and Belgium. Press the images below to visit the corresponding travel post.

If you would like to read about my other travel stories from across the world see my Travel Adventures.

 

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Göteborg: a sunny afternoon

I thought I would have finished sharing this Euro Trip before the new year but only a couple more stops to go. After visiting the beautiful Swedish cities of MalmöYstadLund and Heisenberg, we spent one afternoon in Göteborg. This was not the first time we have visited Göteborg and we saw most of the sites last time. I will share the best of Göteborg in a future post.

We came to Göteborg to see Marco’s uncle. Unfortunately, he was unable to spend more time with us, but it was worth the trip to spend the afternoon with him. This was the first time Octavia had met him but she got along with him straight away, possibly because he looks so much like her grandfather.

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Quick stops in Lund and Heisenberg

From Malmö to Göteborg we made a couple of stops in Lund and Heisenberg. Unfortunately, they had to be extremely quick as there was major congestion on the motorway. We needed to be at our next destination by a certain time, so we lost a lot of time in traffic. So I only saw a snapshot of the beautiful little towns.

 

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Ystad: charming town, Ale’s Stones

While we were staying in Malmö we made a trip down to Ystad. This small town is on the coast of Southern Sweden and faces Germany-Polish coast across the Baltic Sea. This quiet town has become world famous for the popular BBC series, Wallander. We aren’t fans of the show, instead, we came to see Sweden’s Stonehenge, the Ale’s Stones.

 

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Book Review: Sagor Och Sägner

On my recent trip to Sweden I came across a new book that I had never seen before and it was love at first sight. It was also an impulse buy and definitely one I haven’t regretted. Sagor Och Sägner is illustrated by Swedish artist Emelie Lidehäll Öberg. It was published this year and is Emelie’s second colouring book. Her first book Sagolikt (2016), was very popular in Sweden and across the world, so it was enviable she would be illustrating a new book.

Sagor Och Sägner translates to tales and legends. The book is filled with line drawings that are based on Nordic folklore and fairytales. This book has a hardcover similar to colouring books by Hanna Karlzon and Maria Trolle. It has 96 pages and drawings are printed on both sides. The paper is high-quality off-white and pencils lay down very nicely on it.

This book is currently only available from a few Swedish retailers (and one in the Czech Republic). I actually bought my book in a Swedish book store in Helsingborg. However, Amazon does carry Emelie’s first book.

I absolutely love this book. Emelie’s style is completely different to any other colouring books that I own. There is definitely a Swedish feel to this book, which is both quirky and whimsical. I was a bit intimidated by this book as it wasn’t like anything I coloured before, but once I got started I found the line art really agreed with me.

I really put a lot of love into the following pictures that I coloured from this book. Each one took me at least four evenings, once my toddler was tucked into her bed. I did a bit more planning for most of these pictures, so I thought I would share some of my thought processes. I wanted to try a variety of themed pictures, as some spoke to me than others. I also wanted to colour some of the pictures that weren’t so popular on social platforms. I used both Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils and Prismacolor Premier pencils in this book, which both lay down very well. I am really happy how my pictures turned out and hope I did Emelie’s work justice.

 


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Book Review: Vivi söker en vän

While I was away on holidays I had major colouring withdrawals. The first book that I got started with was the Swedish colouring book Vivi söker en vän by Maria Trolle. It’s taken me a little while to get some pages coloured to share with you all, as I have been sick for the past month.

It wasn’t easy getting hold of this book. There are only a couple of Swedish retailers who sell the book online and to get it sent to Australia upwards from $50. Luckily we were travelling to Sweden on our trip.  The next problem I faced was to buy the book online and get it sent to a Swedish address without a Swedish personal number. We don’t have personal numbers in Australia, so I found this odd that Swedes need one to purchase online. Luckily I was able to get Marco’s uncle to buy the book for me for 90kr ($14Aud) from the Penstore. I have seen many other colourists with this book so I’m not sure how they got hold of the book in their countries, perhaps a bulk group order.

Anyway, I am really in love with this book. It is true to Maria’s style and is similar to her other books. However, this book a collection of drawings from a children’s book that she illustrated, also called Vivi söker en vän (Sagobok). The name translates to ‘Vivi is looking for a friend‘. Unfortunately, there is no English edition of her story book. So I can only guess what is about based on the pictures. Maria did mention on her facebook page what the story is briefly about.

“When Vivi woke at dawn the walls were darker than usual and the house felt cramped. I want a friend, someone who is just mine, she thought. Vivi lives in a tree house in the woods. One day she goes on an adventure to find herself a friend.
Vivi takes a ride with a bird and flies up into the sky where she meets the Cloudbear. She goes deep into the ocean where she meets a mermaid. In the oak, she becomes friends with the tree spirit. Vivi looks into hollows in the ground where the voles live. But who can be her very own friend who is hers always…
The Miniwolf are also looking for a friend. He is curious about Vivi and wonders if she’ll ever see him …
Vivi meets a friend is about finding your place in the world and to find yourself and meet the right person. A best friend” (Maria Trolle).

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Cover of the storybook

 

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1# Colouring Update

Hi all, it has been a while since I last posted. I’ve had to take a break after contracting Influenza and suffering from perforating my eardrum. So after nearly two weeks of bed rest, I am finally feeling like myself again. I’m still partially deaf and have constant ringing in my ear but it’s improving.

When I was in Europe I got some new colouring books! Every bookstore I came across I went straight to their Adult colouring sections to find something unique. Surprisingly I didn’t find any colouring books for the cities or countries I visited. I really didn’t see anything I hadn’t seen before but I didn’t come home empty-handed.

I received Vivi söker en vän, by Maria Trolle as a gift from a relative in Sweden. I was really excited about this one as it was ridiculously expensive to get this book sent to Australia. I did ask them to buy the book for me since Swedish citizens need to use their own personal number to buy things online. I didn’t see anything new or exciting until we were driving through Helsingborg,  and I came across Maria Trolle’s new book, Skymningstimman and Emelie Lidehall Oberg’s book Sagor Och Sägner. So I impulsively bought them. The other book I bought was from Amazon France, which I organised to be delivered to my friends in Bordeaux. This was Coloriage Wild, by French artist Emmanuelle Colin. 

I could not wait to get my pencils out as soon as I got home. I decided to start Maria Trolle’s colouring book Vivi söker en vän. To get back into the swing I did Chris Cheng’s three part tutorial, Into The Fairy World. This tutorial took me soon long. I only finished a couple of nights ago. Partly because there is so much detail and also because I’ve been too sick to colour much the last couple of weeks. 

I am so thrilled how this page turned out. It just looks just as spectacular in my book and I can’t believe I was about to achieve this much colour and depth. I absolutely love Chris’s tutorials and I learn so much from her. The biggest thing I think I have learned is how to layer with so much colour.

For my book, I decided to keep Vivi in the yellow dress so that I can continue this throughout the book. I was using a thinner Uniball Signo white gel pen to do the fox’s fur. I did upgrade to the Broad Uniball Signo, but I was happy to leave it as is.

I am so in love with this book so this will be my next project for a little while. Once I have enough pictures I will do a review and include my finished pages.

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Book Review: Twilight Garden (Blomster Mandala)

After so much colouring envy I finally bought Maria Trolle’s Twilight Garden. This beautiful Swedish colouring book has been my latest obsession. I was determined to get as many pages done before I go on my trip. It was an absolute joy to colour. I was a bit intimidated at first, but after taking a few advanced tutorials I can imagine a colour scheme for every page.

Maria Trolle is a Swedish graphic designer, gardener and mother. She is a self-taught artist and does a lot of work for Swedish garden magazines and grocery chains. She draws inspiration from the flora and fauna in her garden. She lives just outside of Stockholm on a beautiful farm. She has a blog and website, called Trolle’s Garden, which is a collaboration with her husband, who is a Garden designer and Design director. Here you can find information on their current projects and images of their amazing garden.

Maria’s first colouring book was Blomstermandala, which was a 20-page poster book, filled with flower still lifes. She also made a postcard book with the similar images. After the success of these two book, she published a full-scale colouring book in 96 pages, in the same theme. This full-scale version of Blomstermandala was eventually republished in an English version,  Twilight Garden, which is the version I bought. Both versions have been incredibly popular in the colouring community. She also illustrated a children’s book,”Vivi söker en vän” (Vivi’s looking for a friend). This was also made into a colouring book under the same name. I have actually purchased this one and waiting to pick it up in Sweden in a few weeks. I’m so excited to see it!

The paper in this book is a lovely thick ivory colour. I didn’t find any bleed through using pencils and my Prismacolor blended really well on this paper. The images include flower still lifes, garden scenes with and without animals and some blacked in backgrounds.

This collection of pictures I coloured is in order of when I coloured them. As I mentioned I did use some tutorials. They were all from Chris Cheng’s Youtube channel. These were by far the most advanced tutorials I’ve ever done and I really learned a lot. So I tried to incorporate these new skills into the pictures I coloured on my own.

 

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